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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  March 28, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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call us and let us know. the numbers are on the screen. we will begin with a comment from mark, republican from albany, new york. >> i do think the president made a very good case. he made a case for human rights which we recognize in our constitution. he also made a case for character, the american character. there are times when those decisions are very important. i think those who oppose the president, and republicans in particular, may be making a mistake. the emphasis on having an exit strategy and clear-cut reasoning is legalistic. i think the president made a good case that if you do that,
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you will never do anything. we will never engage in another matter to help our fellow citizens of the world. were you expecting to agree? >> i am surprised a little bit. i did not know if i would agree or not. i think he laid out a very strong case. >> the headline coming out of the speech on the wire services immediately is about the transfer to nato leadership by wednesday. the u.s. will turn over the reins. the coalition has 16 members of the data. we will show you those if you have not seen the list. let's take a call from deidre alabama, a democrat. >> i want to say kudos to president obama. he did what he needed to do. i feel as a democrat that a man with his intellect knows exactly what he is doing. i believe the american people
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should stand behind him and understand he is doing what he can to keep us safe and other countries save as well. >> what was the most powerful argument the president made tonight for your ears? >> he made so many good, valid points. as far as the no-fly zone, as far as i am concerned, like what happened with 9/11, i do not feel if president obama was president at the time that would have happened. what he is doing is heartfelt. he cares for all of these other countries. he cares for the american people. >> mike is in new haven ohio, an independent there. did the president make the case for you tonight? >> no, he did not.
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people better wake up. he starts a war, it takes off for brazil, and congress takes off to their own district. everybody-for a week and then he comes back and gives a speech. what happened to afghanistan? we are stuck there. what happened to iraq question are we are stuck there. this sounds like bush and his regime again without the weapons of mass destruction. the only way we will get out of the mess is it the american people take care of the problems in washington. they have gotten way out of hand. >> next is alice from arlington, massachusetts. did you hear a convincing message? >> i caught the tail in of it. i did like his posture. i think he has shown extreme strength. being a republican, i have to
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echo the sentiment of the previous caller. i think it is in line with afghanistan and iraq. one could say i see libya as just another distraction from keeping away from addressing serious domestic issues. i think the previous gentleman -- i think the president needs to make a decision on a lot earlier, not be concerned with pleasing everyone, and not trying to be too politically correct. that is pretty much it. i would like to see him address more domestic concerns. a anderson and there is a need in the u.s. has always been there to help other countries. -- i understand there is a need and the u.s. has always been there to help other countries. i think the districis history repeating itself. >> the list of countries
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participating is growing. it includes the united kingdom france, greece. nato will be taking the reins on wednesday. he made the case that no to ato involvement with take the pressure off of american soldiers and taxpayers. next is silver spring, maryland. matt is a democrat there. >> i find it refreshing to see president obama using the power of the american military in what i think is its purposeful formed to protect people around the world and get the job done. it is not with occupying with an express political agenda that we
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have had since the korean war. i am very happy that this is everything the iraq war was not. it is simple. there are the objectives and an end date and broad international support from nato, the u.n., and the countries you just listed. >> this is from the center of the speech were the president made his case about why libya is different. >> it is true that america cannot use our military were ever repression of kurds. given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. but that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what is right. in this particular country at this particular moment, we were
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faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. we had a unique ability to stop the violence. it was an international mandate for action. we had a broad coalition prepared to join us with the support of arab countries and a plea from the libyan people themselves. >> return to your phone calls to ask if the president effectively made the rationale for you. >> thank you for taking my call. i believe the president did not make any case tonight. the u.s. cannot afford to be selective. the reason why the u.n. went to war in libya is not recognized.
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i think the reason is the u.s. is spiting -- fighting. this is just a grudge that has gotten intense between the u.s. and libya for the last three or four decades. those who have joined them want the libyan oil. why not go into yemen in bahrain if it is for humanitarian reasons? why not syria and other countries going through the same thing? they claim a moral responsibility. this is contradictory. i am disappointed. >> thank you for your comments.
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sheryl is up next from oklahoma. >> thank you for taking my call. i do not agree with the fact that we went to war with libya without going through congress first. i do not feel like the president followed the constitutional laws laid down for this land. i do not feel like it was in our best interest. i feel we need to be a little more cautious when we decide we want people ousted. some countries choose to live certain ways and some do not. we choose not to live that way. we do not want people coming over here and ousting us out either. i still do not agree with the
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way the president handled things. i hope we come out of this unscathed. thank you very much. >> secretary of state hillary clinton is on her way to london. tomorrow, there is a british- sponsored conference with 35 nations involved on libya. c-span will be bringing in some of the news conferences and other public events attached to the conference tomorrow. the next call is from luke in miami. he is an independent there. >> the main issue i find in this is the fact of our country is that were so constantly that we have become so used to the aggression to the states that our citizens do not mind. it is awful. we are such a large country. we completely neglected education building culture
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integrating citizens. all we do is exert force on the world. of course, the world is going to act with forced back to us. this is another classic example of how a foreign power tries to intervene somewhere it should not be. >> jan is a republican from arizona. >> my head is spinning with the president's contradictions. when he was a state senator in chicago, he was against iraq and afghanistan. president clinton secretary clinton, senator kerry -- all of these people said saddam had mass weapons. he was gassing people. afghanistan, taliban cutting women's hands of. he was against those.
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for two weeks he has been saying that gaddafi has to go. now he says he does not have to go and i do not want a regime change. to the democrats, where is code pink? you wanted to string president bush up. you are paying over $200 million. if you do not think america is paying for this work, get your hand -- head out of the sand. i respect the president as the president. they keep saying he has done everything right. bush went to congress. they approved it. he went to the u.n. and they approved it. i do not get it. my head is going around and around. i guess it is ok people in iraq were gassed and the women are is destroyed -- in the women are destroyed. another thing, secretary gates
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said that we had no threat from libya to our country. that is going to come back and get the president. i do not know why he went in there. i still do not have a clue. but good luck, mr. president. this is your work. they cannot call this bush's. where is code pink, seriously? >> thank you for taking my call. it is unfortunate the previous callers hostility towards all of this. it is unnecessary. civil debate and discourse can be had. my main point is in agreement with the previous republican caller. it concerns me that president obama took the action he did. i found it prudent and appropriate, but taking the action without the approval of
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congress is a slippery slope. i hope he addresses it moving forward and precludes that kind of individual decision making from our policy making in the future. >> we have a few more minutes to take your calls. the speech will air again on c- span. it will appear 10:50 eastern time. it is available at your convenience online at the c-span library. the next call is from paulette an independent. >> i truly believe there is something between sticking your head in the sand or chopping it off.
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i support him 110%. i feel he is bringing a new grace and literacy to our country as a leader. i think he is doing what he can do with what he is working with. americans need to stop arguing about what he is doing, stop second-guessing him, and start working together as americans. >> may i ask you a question? >> is this a turning point for you in your view of the president question is this an opinion you have held throughout his presidency? >> it is and opinion i have held for a while. i followed his campaign. i truly believed he would be able to work faster than he has done when he got in office. i can see things he is up against. i am sure there is a world of
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things i am not aware of. i think he has fled with grace. i think he is a statesman and a leader. -- i think that he has led with greece. i will not give up on him as long as i do not feel like he is giving up on the united states of america. >> let's listen to the final comments from a caller in minneapolis. >> i want to go back to the other lady who talked about president bush's police in the war. joe biden when he was a senator insisted on the senate floor that the no-fly zone in iraq was not working and was creating a humanitarian crisis. this president did not make the case. if you are going to do it, get rid of gaddafi. creating a no-fly zone is nothing. thank you for taking my call.
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>> the speech will be. later tonight and again tomorrow morning. we will have several guests in our studio where you can continue the conversation about libya. thank you for being with us tonight. >> now the implications of what is happening in libya for the u.s.. among the panelists paul wolfowitz, who says the u.s. needs to engage the opposition more. this is from the american enterprise institute. it is about 90 minutes. >> good afternoon. thank you for joining us. welcome to the american enterprise institute. i am danielle pletka director of defense studies. i hope everyone is here for the same purpose, to discuss an
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event on libya. what will odyssey dawn bring? we do have a sense of being in the middle of the great historical world wind. -- rolawhirlwind. tonight, the president is going to address the nation for the first time from the oval office on the topic of the war in libya. none of us are sure what it is that he is going to say. i think many have hoped that he will express a clear sense of what our goals are and what our plans are for the future and how we see libya fitting into the broader question of the
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revolution's going on throughout the middle east. they are continuing to spread throughout syria yemen, and elsewhere. there is an enormous amount going on. it is difficult even for experts to stay on top of it. tomorrow the international community will meet in london to discuss many of these same questions. president nicolas sarkozy and prime minister camera and released a statement suggesting they wanted to gather the international community to talk about how to relate to in libya that was not led by mark gaddafi. -- was not led by muammar gaddafi and what the international community could do beyond the no-fly zone in place.
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i think part of the problem many of us see is that there is confused leadership coming from the united states. there is a sense that the president is not willing to lead on the matter. perhaps he has been pressed by others into taking a position that was not of his choice. he is the president deeply eager to pass responsibility on to others. perhaps rightly or wrongly. at the root of all, it begs the question about whether the president has a vision for what is in our national -- national interest to accomplish in libya and elsewhere.
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we have to give him credit for doing the right thing as he did in iraq and afghanistan. american forces have stepped up. we're part of the enforcement of the no-fly zone. where are we today? we had hoped to talk about the military situation on the ground and with nato and to assess where that is leading what we are accomplishing, and how the operation is going. to discuss that, we have four wonderful panelists. we always have wonderful panelists and today is no exception. kenneth pollack is from the brookings institution. everybody's bio is online if you crave additional information. ken has written extensively on
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libyan military history. he will have a lot of perspective to bring. michael o'hanlon is the senior fellow in foreign policy at the brookings institution. he writes often and wonderfully on military affairs. paul wolfowitz is a visiting scholar at the american enterprise institute and has been following these issues closely. thomas donnelly is the director of the aei center for defense studies. we are going to go slightly out of order. for those who have not been here recently we used to have a set piece and i would talk a lot. i have kept to that tradition. i apologize to the panelists. our panelists with each give a
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presentation and we returned to the floor for questions. we have been doing it differently lately. i hope you will enjoy the change in format. if you do not, i am sure you will not hesitate to tell me. we've done a more interactive style that we call "meet the press" style. i am going to bounce back and forth between the speakers and audience in a more question and answer style. that is what you should expect. that is how we will do it. we will open up the floor to questions later. mike i told you i was going to hit you first and ask about the situation on the ground. how do you see the military operation unwinding? do you see the international community coming together with a clear goal?
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is it a problem that we have the smallest coalition of the willing we have ever had? are we bringing the right forces to bear to achieve the goals we wish to achieve? are we totally unclear on the goals in the first place? how does that relate back? >> i do not want to give a comprehensive overview. i want to make a few remarks. there is a fundamental tension in our goals. we want gaddafi gone. that is a matter of official u.s. policy. it is a policy that i have the honor of calling for with paul wolfowitz a few weeks ago. on the other hand, the military
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mission as defined in the security council resolution and the president the -- president's rhetoric makes it clear that is not the explicit goal and perhaps not even a reasonable implied cool although there is room for disagreement and discussion. there's tension about how you could have a difference between the two approaches. you somehow aspire to get rid of gaddafi when you are not willing to use your military. having said that, let me say that i still think the president has made the right choice. it highlights the importance of what you said in the introduction. that is the need for more clear presidential rhetoric. communication is part of the actual policy. it is not a side note to it. the whole world is trying to take the president's temperature on what his goals
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may be. i think there has been too little communication. the president cannot fully reconcile the tension in his policy just by talking more. i do not expect him to this evening. we're going to hope that gaddafi leaves the scene but we're not willing to do that with our own forces or any operation we're helping to plan. as to why i agree with the approach of the golden locks approach with no ground forces but some intervention, i think americans in general would recognize we cannot stand by and watch the slaughter of the opposition. it would have been a humanitarian catastrophe and made a mockery of the entire winter and spring of revolution in the middle east and chasenged the trajectory. the idea of intervening with ground forces would have been
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too far in the other direction. there is a lot of room in between. the basic approach of a search of air campaign. the basic approach of and a search of air campaign -- the basic approach of having an assertive air campaign is good. this is nowhere near conclusion. in contrast to the 1999 because of a campaign motivated by similar kind of thinking of needing to do something but not everything this one was begun in a much more muscular and realistic way. we started attacking ground targets and not just airplanes from the outset. we recognized there were ways we could effectively strike gaddafi forces using airplanes. we did not signal we were going
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to try to wind this up in two or three days. the president has been in a hurry to make a transition to nato. that does suggest to some he is not resolute. on the other hand, he has not indicated we're looking to disengage the united states. it has been a more firm and effective start to this air campaign then we did in 1999. that strikes me as the most relevant analogy in modern american history. i think where this is going is unknowable at the moment. i teach courses on military operation. we try to analyze combat scenarios and figure out how they will go. i do not even know how to begin a calculation on the battlefield dynamics and the power balances. too much is fundamentally and noble. the rebels have benefited from our air power to make some inroads into the center of libya where the battle has now turned.
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they have reestablished control benghazi and started working westward. it looks promising. maybe they will just keep on going and be done with it in a few weeks. we should not rule out the possibility. i also think there is a distinct possibility of stalemate. then the question becomes how much we want to escalate through more air power or arming the rebels. there are two distinct possibilities. actually, there are three. the rebels keep the momentum going and march on tripoli to overthrow gaddafi or have his elite desert him. the second is a stalemate. the third is that gaddafi manages to reverse the momentum. the first two are distinctly on the table. i do not know how to predict which one is more likely.
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>> you start out by saying we have a fundamental tension. u lthen to suggest we have no idea where this is going to go, you get the feeling there is a sense of having to do something and so bombing the sites. if you have no vision of where to go, there is no means of getting there. do you not guarantee a stalemate of some sort ofr another? you did not outline the other bits of confusion. we do not have clarity about whether it is legal to arm the
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rebels. it has been suggested we are supporting secret army of the rebels. it is not clear the u.n. security council resolution allows that. i would argue is not. is there any way to reconcile these things other than hoping that it comes out of the best? >> i agree the administration has difficult choices to make. the administration can focus on the speech tonight and hoping the momentum continues. chances are in the next few weeks, they will have to figure out if they want to escalate. that escalation could cover a wide range of possibilities. some could raise legal issues with arms transfers. some could involve putting american special forces on the ground to figure out what is going on to get better battlefield intelligence and perhaps help the rebels coordinate more effectively. here is an analogy that comes to mind.
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that is the 2001 afghanistan campaign. the use of air power and special forces on the ground did remarkable things in conjunction with the northern alliance. the administration will have to think hard about contemplating such options. i will let the conversation address that. i agree that it is a big choice. i do not think it has been made yet in the ministration. >> part of the challenge is the communications challenge. they did not race away from american involvement. secretary gates and secretary clinton made the case that we do not have a national interest in libya, but we do have a national interest regionally. i guess i know how to read that
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sitting at a think tank. i do not know how to read that coming from the secretary of defense. without that and with what the president said about averting a humanitarian disaster, if that is the mission then there's the question of why we are not everywhere else. was our only interest to avert the humanitarian disaster? or do we have an actual interest? i am still trying to reconcile those questions to the military means we are using in the progress made on the ground. >> i am going to complete michael's goldilocks analogy to acknowledge the fact that it is porridge and not more substantive.
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i think the fact of gold -- de facto goal of getting rid of gaddafi is pretty much accepted. it is difficult to say out loud for a host of political reasons. that is difficult to say with our partners internationally. i cannot conceive of any operation that does not achieve that goal that anybody thinks would be a success. we will figure out how to get there somehow. we are making it up as we go. we're starting out with hoping it works. the establishment of the no-fly zone has been done extraordinarily well and rapidly. it is interesting to speculate what would have happened if it had been done when the rebels
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were at the gates of tripoli. it might have saved us and the libyans a lot of bloodshed. however, as might also suggested in his three potential outcomes, the most likely won this some form of operational pause in which the rebels are not well enough organized not mobile enough, do not have the firepower to bust through the gates of tripoli. gaddafi does not use his frequent flier miles to go to wherever he will end up. someone has to go the final number of miles. it is also unlikely that even the best form of western air power -- although it has been a more muscular response and kosovo i think it is a low threshold test.
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the ground strikes are still less than 100 a day. whether there will be specific discrete targets closer to tripoli and when things get nasty to make effective use of the air power, only time will tell. it is not just decisions that have to be made. it is a decision that leads us to the outcome of getting rid of gaddafi and beginning to shape what comes after. if we have an interest in going to war in the first place, we have an equal or greater interest in ensuring that the regime that comes afterwards does not lead us down and even worse road. i think part of the task for the
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president this evening is to take the next step. he does not have to get us to a perfect vision of his outcome but he must take us further down the road he has committed just two. >> so you are right in the president's speech. by the way, he is not writing the president's speech. what does he have to say? what are the tools he needs to lay out that we will be using to take this to the next level? >> i would say he does not have to be specific. he was out of the country. he has not talked to the american people or congress. he just has to express a sense that he is on top of that. even though he has rounded up the coalition and wants to share the burden, he has to convince us that the outcome is going to be a success and here are the
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processes we will follow. he has to transmit the idea that the purpose for which we're fighting is the removal of the regime and laying the foundations for a libya that is more like a normal nation. >> he is going to have to go back to what he said previously and has not said cents. he is going to have to go beyond the language of the u.n. security council resolution that does not call for the use of our power or any other to remove the regime. that is a difficult corner. in trying to do the right thing from different directions, we have ended up [unintelligible] you have followed a series of
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no-fly zones. not all of them have ended well. i am not sure that any did. talk to us about theat and what the libyan military dynamics mean going forward. >> it is wonderful to be back here and with these three gentlemen and one lovely lady. i will start by saying that what tom and mike both getting outat is less about the confusion of the goals and more about laying out the strategy of how we will accomplish the disparate goals. i teach a class on military analysis. one of the most interesting things about history is that
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while having a confusion over goals is not a good thing, it does not have to be crippling. some of the most successful military campaigns have started out with confused goals. the bigger question is whether you have a strategy that allows you to achieve either or any of the different goals. what we have not seen is an articulate its strategy that can bring us to either the president's stated goal of removing gaddafi from power or an actual resolution of the immediate humanitarian situation. i believe it was right to intervene in this situation because of the pressing humanitarian concern. that is a tough decision to make. it was rapidly unfolding and i think it was the right one to make. we have staved off humanitarian catastrophe. now what? that is the big question. the problem with no-fly zones is that they are not decisive military operations. they do not contain a way to end
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the conflict. it is all well and good to be praying every night that someone is going to put a bullet in gaddafi's had but that is not the strategy. the question becomes how do you move forward? we have a history with gaddafi that is not good. i do not know if you can imagine a stable resolution of the situation where gaddafi remains in power. paul probably remembers this. in 1984 during one of his many quixotic invasions' of chad, it was brought to a halt. gaddafi and present mr. ro -- president mitterand achieved an
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agreement. they resumed the invasion as soon as the french were gone. that is probably the closest reality -- analogy to this. the idea that you can walk away leaving gaddafi in place does not make sense. that brings us back to the different scenarios we have started putting on the table. the history of air power if you have a capable opposition, you could run something like the afghan approach. i do not think the libyan opposition is the equivalent of the northern alliance. what we have going for us is that the libyan military is not the equivalent of the taliban. the libyan military is a pretty miserable force. we have seen how they have fled at the first with ofhiff of
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opposition. this is pure speculation. i suspect it is more likely that if the u.s. and allies want to imply that approach, we have to go back and build up the libyan opposition. i think the u.n. resolution does not allow or unable that. i also would not say that it forbids it. that is what we have the cia for. that is one option to take, to start building up the libyan opposition. that is something that will take years. the problem is, can you sustain the current situation? it is great that the french and british have stepped up, but how long will they do it? if it takes to the years to build up the libyan opposition -- it takes two years to build up the libyan opposition, are
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going to have the french and british willing to provide care coverage? it is not just a no-fly zone. it is in no drive or walk zone. as the italians learned in 1940 it must beat mostly a note drive zone. are they going to be willing to sustain the effort for the amount of time that may be necessary to build up the opposition? >> i noticed you did not bring in the example of iraq. i think it is always wise to leave it out. it does animate people in ways one is not always happy about. on the other hand, it is hard to escape it. setting aside in 1991 uprising and the mistakes, we did end up in a situation where we have a divided country.
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the u.n. partially administered the north. savant administered the south. we had -- someaddam administered the south. there was a coalition that may be difficult to reconstitute. i doubt on lot of the original powers would let us fly in and out on an endless basis. then there is the question of arms and the opposition. we were on different sides of the debate at the time. i do not think anyone would disagree that it was a much more serious opposition. we can have that right afterwards. -- we can have that right afterwards. laying out plan b allows
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gaddafi -- let's not forget who gaddafi is. chemical program, nuclear program, support for terrorism the pan am 1 03 flight. it seems that when you begin to pick at it, it unravels completely. >> i am glad you reminded me of iraq. i am not a big fan of articulating policies and in doing nothing -- than doing nothing to implement them. that is my fear about what we may have done here. i am hoping we will hear from the president that there is a plan to take this vision of a libya without gaddafi and turn it into policy. if you want to go beyond what i have laid out with the afghan
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option, then you are talking about a ground invasion of tripoli. i do not see any interest in that. i am not convinced that it is writing -- rising to that level to justify that. the inc is right in there neck and neck with these guys. the issue is political sustainability. we saw it with a rock. over time, the coalition got smaller as we tried to enforce the no-fly zones over iraq. in iraq, there was not a plan to bring about saddam's device -- demise. we did have a plan that might have resulted in his death by
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falling accidentally on a fork 17 times. [laughter] in libya, the idea that if we were to build up the opposition -- we could do covertly. the cia has a lot of experience with this. it could weaken gaddafi significantly. the libyan rebels -- the libyan military is not even the equal of saddam's military. if you can have tight sanctions and a blockade to prevent them from resupplying over months or years, you will weaken him and pulled up the rebels. that gives a reasonable possibility of the outcome we want from this. >> the challenge of what level it rises to is challenging.
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gaddafi has proven himself imaginative enough to rise to those levels. paul, you have talked about the libyan opposition and what we need to do who we need to help, what areas are desperate for help. you have written extensively about these things. for many, there is an open question about what the of the side looks like at all and having a sense that once gaddafi is gone, we will have a group we can work with. even if he did fall on a fork or get shot by one of his leaders how do we deal with that question? >> we may have to have an answer to that much sooner than we realize.
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we might get very lucky and have what could be described as catastrophic success. the change in momentum has been striking and dramatic. it underscores something we need to keep in the discussion. the have been references to the weakness of gaddafi's army, but i don't think it has underscored just how weak they are. this is not an army. it is a gameng. if first reports are wrong, in the case of libya sixth and seventh reports are wrong. the libyan tanks are a decisive factor in allowing him to keep people off the street and then
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have snipers on the roof. it is not a normal work. -- it is not a normal war. we may face the situation sooner than we expect, the post- gaddafi situation. as far as i can tell, we have done nothing to prepare for it. one thing that strikes me is that so much of our discussion on both sides of the issue even from the beginning before we have the no-fly zone, has focused on our military options. it reminds one of the saying that if all you have is a hammer everything is a nail. this is a libyan problem that needs a libyan solution. there are libyans out there with astonishing. free confronting -- there are
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libyans out there with astonishing courage confronting tanks unarmed. we do not know a lot about them. you can find some nasty is o lamists among their numbers. there are also people like an ambassador who is someone we have been dealing with for years. there are libyan officials on the of a sudden have been dealing with for a long time. they have been issuing statements we give almost no attention to. there is so much we could do before we get to the question on anti-tank weapons. the fact that libyan state tv continues to broadcast only through four international channels. when mubarak shutdown al
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jazeera, they did it like that. why not stop broadcasting the garbage on tv like a woman being accused of being a prostitute or something worse? woman who attacks for says even prostitutes are patriotic and this woman is not. why should that garbage be broadcast? why does it take the private initiative to start in broadcasting to the ability for opposition? i prefer to call them that rather than rubles. their principles we would be happy to see them subscribe to. we could say that we want them to sign up for those principles in a formal way. maybe we want you to commit to the united nations. maybe it would be a good thing to get a u.n. resolution establishing that when gaddafi
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departs, there will be a national referendum in libya to determine basic issues of how they will be governed instead of wringing our hands and saying we do not know who these people are and therefore we will not recognize or supply them. as far as i know, we are not even sending the medical assistance. there is a lot that could be done. i believe that is the instrument to avoid a stalemate option. i think we have thwarted off the possibility of a gaddafi victory. we may not know who the opposition is. we know who gaddafi is. we do not even know who gaddafi is because we have never dealt with him in the state he will be in if he succeeds in keeping control of half of libya. he has millions in gold bullion and probably bank accounts we do not have access to. he will be much more dangerous than anything we encountered before.
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i believe we have tended to whitewash him in recent years. last year, he was meeting with leaders of the iraqi insurgency. i think there is a lot we can do. it lies in making good on what we've said about the libyan solution. the longer it goes on -- let's keep this in mind. when libya. and when people say libya is not a vital interest, the act like it is an island iin the south pacific. and as if nothing on is going on in the middle east that would be affected. it seems to be in our interest to get a decisive resolution in libya as quickly as possible because of everything else catching on fire. we're going to have a hard time handling the whole region. i think will have a harder time handling it if we're still debating who is in charge of the
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no-fly zone and what the mission is. >> we did advertised this as being beyond the question of libya. as you watch what is going on throughout the region, i think it is legitimate for people in the region to ask why libya and why not syria? there are answers to these questions. estimates are that there have been 8000 among the opposition that have been lost. the numbers in other countries are far less. arguably, we have vital interests in a few of those countries in one way or another. we are not doing something right. we're not articulating clearly our interests. we're not articulating clearly
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why it is the cookie cutter does not work. it is not clear to me how we get out there and answer these questions so that we do not walk away as we did in the balkans having done something meaningful for important part of the muslim world and end up with t he masses angry that we were not there for them. >> it is a very important question. answering it it is enormously difficult. i think john kerry said it is today that what we're seeing in the middle east is as important as the fall of the berlin wall in 1989. you need a strategy for the whole problem but the strategy has to recognize that each individual piece of it is
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different. this is not a place where we should go by analogies. aside from the sheer drama, they are very different. i think george s.w. bush gets a lot of credit for when the berlin wall came down. president bush said the we are for a unified germany. that is the core of our policy. he swept the opposition away. one might point out that the one place we filled with the balkans. it was referenced just now for the protracted no-fly zones. i think what is going on is connected. people in one arab country are looking at other countries. they're discovering there is no reason why arabs cannot have freedom. how it might be applied in different situations is different. i think the one thing this seems
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clear -- the one thing that seems clear is the western world has a chance to embrace it for theat part of the world. if we fail to take advantage of that common interest, we have lost and the stork -- a historic opportunity. >> the framing of the questions why libya and not rain? everybody knows where that is the case. we do have political principles that shaped the way we make strategy. on the other hand, it is not an algorithm. it is not a mechanical process. there are still leadership decisions. we are taking advantage of local development in libya.
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that was a gift of the people of north africa and the political winds of change that have been blowing through that part of the muslim world for the last few months. they came within an eyelash of succeeding without us doing anything about it. >> and it's not just a humanitarian thing. to rule out 90% of the picture we have been having a generation long conversation about what u.s. policy should a. we ought to have learned something over the course of those years. god knows we have done a lot of difficult things and to try to introduce representative governments into the region we continue to fight and sacrifice to do it.
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even if it is not a world shattering change, it is part of a larger world historic event. it is almost mendacious not to seek out all these things are connected. it may be difficult to come up with a comprehensive answer and strategy but to not see this as an america's strategic interest seems to be narrow minded >> women that see it in america's interest by it demands an explanation. everybody always -- everybody knows what the border of israel and palestine will look like. why don't we get down to it. i don't think everybody does know.
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you have a response. >> i will try to restrain myself because you invited me to step up. this is something i have been writing about the last few months. one of the things we are lacking the problem we have as no one is articulating a strategy. the administration is saying what it is they think they will do. they have not yet articulated a clear framework for what it is the u.s. is up to. this was completely wrong headed and kept in place a status quo which kept the arab people in misery. it will acquire a great deal of
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boldness back in cairo 20 months ago. the administration walked away from all too quickly. we will have to put our long- term interests ahead of short- term interests. we recognize the change will mean something different in every part of the region. the best kind of change is not the explosive revelations we have seen in egypt or tunisia. they have gone as well as humanly possible. what comes next could be awful. it will also be about setting priorities. that is one of my great concerns with libya. when american troops are in, that's, that is where our attention goes variable.
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egypt is of far greater consequence to the middle east. we are so focused on libya and everything else. and iraq where we have had this democratic experiment going on. the administration has done a poor job of pursuing it. i hope there is recognition this is the kind of change that needs to come that will include iraq. it will be about having a dialogue with different countries. we know these reforms have been idiosyncratic in every country. we have had a lot of words but need much more action. the egyptian government is in danger of running out of money. there are analysts who are
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afraid they will not be able to pay civil servants. the biggest and clear is the egyptian government. we have to help find the money for them in the short term. they're much more profound reforms that need to go on and much deeper areas. >> but this comes back to a criticism all of us often hear which is it is always the right answer. i don't think that is a fair
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cost. you spend a lot of time with our military commanders in afghanistan and iraq. one of the things petraeus has been emphasizing is i have my component here but i cannot do it without the other part. we will not win the military effort unless we get the civilian side or the economic side. we keep talking about this as if we need to bring these great efforts to the opposition but we had years to do this and the stink. the evidence is we are not good at it. we can step up to a certain point when we have to in iraq but preemptively we have not been capable of stepping up and
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forcing it better education system. isn't that the other half of the corn and we don't talk about? it goes back to ground forces or whatever it may be. >> i will go in a different direction. the sequence of events we have seen this winter and spring was of the nature that would have allowed pre-existing frameworks to easily handle it or more capacity. this is the step up moment for secretary clinton and president obama. it is their pay grade that has to define what the doctrine will be of the america we will see broadening.
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it sounds like the friend lanced towards what they have been doing so far. doctrines emerge in retrospect rather than being articulate it. we are at this inflection point where now is the time to do more than just give a speech. more than just say he is in charge and sounds presidential and he is smart. his choices that in the least bad of all the options but it is getting to be a moment where we need a clear downtrend -- not only do we have to sort out our goal in libya -- we have to figure out how to deal with yemen and syria. there may be others that emerge all three of them as we could
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see a need for some organizing principle. i think that 25% is missing. we are far enough east that it is time for president obama to explain what broader strategy we have to guide us here. my own instincts is that -- this is somewhat visionary and strategic. in bahrain we are trying to quiet things down and we don't have lebanon power-sharing between the sunni and shiite. i would hope we don't have to do that. in yemen it is time to push the president out. these are judgment calls based on individual circumstances.
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we need to explain to people what you are doing so it does that seem like an endless series of individual decisions. >> need to know who the other side is on how we would have prepared ourselves to have a better relationship with the other side rather than contemplating -- concentrating on the other guy. >> i would be leery of a moment of new doctrine. i think we have been on an people in half for a long amount of time. it has taken us a while to understand the supporting stability of the postcolonial government -- the liberty that you would prefer. and the temptation to always for
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this administration to define itself to what has gone previously will not serve us well. making the individual case is always a contingent decision but there has been a defacto strategy of intense engagement to promote political change. we have been on that path -- we have this planning metric to respond to particular cases but i would be nervous if the speech the president gives his we have made a u-turn from our past strategy. we will do this always in coalition and everything we have
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done previously is not connected to what we are doing now. >> i completely disagree with you in your prescription. the idea that we have been embracing the notion of pushing change the fis the historical proof which is every time when we have been asked how important is change we are 87th on the list. the bush administration adopted frequently until that -- it was two hours and the president gave the speech in cairo. under the clinton administration we had the pro mubarak dialogue. gore would say you need to do this and he would say we will me to do this or push the peace
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process? at the end of the day you have to make a radical change. we never tried. that is what we need to do them. we need to recognize that approach is what has gotten us into this problem. now we have to make that change. tonight's speech is about libya and it is a speech the president needs to give. >> when it comes to libya it seems we have not even done in preemptively. we have had something approximating alternative government for over a month. we have had some telephone conversations with it. we met with one of the people in paris. it is pretty impressive. >> let me open up the floor to
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questions and remind everyone of our rules. you will identify yourself and place ask a brief question. this gentleman had his hand up first. here she comes. and then the gentleman in front but why don't we go with both. you have the microphone. >> thank you very much. >> could you identify yourself? >> political editor for human events. i would like to pose my question to the whole panel but particularly the doctor. i was interested in your comments about the opposition. i know there were no means mentioned. this means we are far beyond the
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opposition in knowing what the opposition to saddam hussein was or the events in egypt. can you name a specific person that would be a good post gaddafi leader? the rebels have torn down the gaddafi flag and raise the banner of the king that was overthrown. is there any chance the kings air coming to power in a constitutional monarchy? >> you can go and find out who they had named as the provisional prime minister. my sense is that the in this township for the property this lack of too much beyond the flag.
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libya was once the civilized country so gaddafi got a hold of it. we don't have to sit here in washington putting our finger in the air and trying to figure out who are the opposition leaders in libya. this is not a secret operation. we should not reinforce the notion that the cia is behind everything the americans do. i have yet to hear a good reason why we should not recognize them with the provisional government. we could be talking to them on a daily basis. if we would help him get up in broadcasting we would know they would be out there every day. >> gentleman right here with a camera.
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>> closer to your mouth. >> [unintelligible] i was wondering if you would give me your commentary about russia. [unintelligible] >> just so everybody can hear because the need to hold this closer to yoon. this is a question on russia's approach to the revelation. anybody have a comment? >> it seems to be some split at the top of the budget government whether they should be completely negative or just neutral. i don't know what drives their policy other than nostalgia for stalin regime's. you can count on the russians being there to get in the oil
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business. >> the thing that struck me is to the abstainers work. >> india and china are good allies with brazil. the whole notion of the g-2 -- china is the most interesting. how reluctant the other powers of the planet are to step forward in these circumstances -- russia may be having this in a but also the chinese will be in there also commercially in whenever it falls after gaddafi. they are not large players in determining what that will look like.
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>> thanks. i am finding myself a little confused. i think this has been a fascinating discussion. here is the question i feel like i will walk away and not knowing the answer to. that is, it seems to me the point has been made by this panel that the president needs to talk to libya tonight. what he says about libya it could be differences of opinion. this group believes the president needs to stick to the libya script. if that is the case and if what
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we know is there is trouble brewing in syria and bahrain yemen and who knows where else -- that could erupt any time. can he really go on television tonight and address libya or does he have to do make some statement about this is what we are doing and why we are doing in but we are also aware that this is brewing in various places and lay down something that says we make these decisions individually but don't throw darts at a board. we have a point of view whether it is embracing change or whatever.
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>> the reason you walk away not knowing the answer is because many of us have wished for the president's success don't know how he feels about this. >> i will take solace in the fact that i assume you are only leaving a little confused in his testimony to how much we have clarified. i think the right way to handle this would be what you laid out. this is what has been going on in the middle east. here is now what we are doing in libya is a part of it. that is not a speech we will get. we will get the libya speech. they will give me libya speech
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and the i want them to give it as soon as possible because i would like that to be tonight's speech. i think they are thinking this is american combat troops in harm's way. the president needs to explain why they are doing what they are doing and under what conditions will remain there. i am a stupid middle east analyst so i will get things from that perspective. >> that has not been what the president has been saying. enough about that. let me explain al is we are not responsible on this. here are the multilevel operations. >> i am not here to defend the
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administration. i think this goes back to a point tom was making earlier. a lot of the progress now they will explain themselves and now they have been -- they did a lousy job of informing congress and the american people. this is a speech the president should have given days ago the night that it started. it is a little bit late. there has been this perception of and coherence. they believe they have a consistent world view. my response is everybody wants to hear it. >> i don't think this is a speech that will be given but there is a special obligation to talk about why you put american troops in harm's way. it seems the first thing is to say the immediate reason is
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humanitarian but the larger reason is what is taking place in the broader middle east. how to fill the gap between military action and our desired outcome in libya. it is fine if he says the use of our military force is for the humanitarian purpose but we definitely have an objective here and it will take more than economic sanctions to accomplish it. i would like to recognize the opposition may be doing a whole range of options. i would like to see the president explained that refers to the country -- it refers to the regime and not the country.
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these are things that will not will end but there is a huge gap on libya that should be filled. the fact is what we are seeing is a reputation of the arab exception that they don't care about freedom. we are seeing a desire for freedom. that is something that appeals to americans we will try to support. we are with those people and will figure out how to make things work. people tend to equate bahrain and libya and not understand. the principle is an evolutionary change is better than revolutionary change. all of the tyrants should wake
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up and smell the coffee and recognized if they don't have a gradual change they are lucky to face the resolutions bringing throughout the region. >> i will turn back over. >> i get the sense from each of you that's gaddafi needs to go. is there any scenario in in which gaddafi staying in power would not be a strategic disaster? >> i have already had good conversations with my panelists on this one. there are circumstances under which it could be a tolerable outcome with clear conditions.
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we will not recognize him as the leader of libya. the first thing is this is not preferred. if we wind up in a stalemate in which we have various assets on the ground that have tried to size of the opposition we are having a hard time to get that strong enough to overthrow gaddafi, i could contemplate a cease-fire in which he is still heavily sanctioned and told that he has a certain number of months to figure out it is time to go. temporarily allowing him some limited control over tripoli. you have to negotiate extremely carefully. any kind of cease-fire would have to be monitored by robust
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forces big enough to fend off small-scale attacks. this is not one i would rule out entirely. >> i wonder if each of you could share with you know about the state of gaddafi's military and their willingness to respond. >> i will start. i am not sure we will be saying anything different. we don't know. this was not a very good military to begin with. most of the stuff was sitting around. there was a big stockpiles of ammunition. the best thing you can do is you
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have a bunch of guys shooting. they don't shoot terribly well but they are going up against untrained rebels. they can do a lot of damage. the big question is how many tanks are actually operational? polls suggest that it maybe a half-dozen. the problem we have is we don't have some -- satellite injury. -- satellite imagery. six tanks can be a killer. this is what we will see. overtime the big question is psychological. is there a perception gaddafi is winning or losing. in terms of physical supply, how much can he get stuff from
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elsewhere? some have been destroyed. the equipment will simply run down. >> your question was less about a stockpile and people following orders. that is why things like getting libyan tv off the air is so important. if this were to move quickly it will be based on a psychological factor. it is not a good future any longer. that will be done by non-lethal means. >> the death of my lack of knowledge about libyan society -- take this with a grain of salt.
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even in the conventional sense they are very weak in the subject to the kinds of military power we can bring to bear. the question in my mind would pay even if pay even gaddafi is there a band of loyalists that form the core of insurgency? an and digestible and that because of tribal loyalty is are people who believe tripoli is the natural capital. ann and digested residual core. will it pay integrated into the future of libya? even if you eliminate whenever formations there maybe whether
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it be people who are invested in the past regime and cannot be integrated into society who are not well organized more trouble for us or the following government. >> this is another important thing. we talked about the specifics of information. the press spends a lot of time watching state media. most information comes out of state media there is an enormous amount of difference that is unconscious. it conditions how people see their options in terms of going into the streets. gaddafi will mean the airwaves does dominique. you see this in syria where is
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this wholesale leadership. it really conditions people's willingness to step out in their understanding of the scenario. to actually get these media off and stop posting date brothers in law. there is my 2 cents. >> i just like the panel's view. it is taken for granted that long term democratic transition would be a good thing but i am curious in the short term this tiger gets away from us. the situation in bahrain -- they do crack down on a bloody way. if egypt's transition goes for run do you share some concern i
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have that these events could get out of control that makes opposition tough in the middle east? >> i strongly endorse that view. this morning i was doing and interview with your colleagues. i started advocating for this 10 years ago. now we are in the middle of it. we know revelations have a bad habit of getting hijacked. those things will -- those thing are all out there. they will try to take advantage of this because if it succeeds it will be -- it will be a very
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dangerous ride for a while. if we get it right the middle east will be a much better place. that is a long-term prospect. >> he spoke with -- the phrase i remember it was he said the arab spring has arrived. it might be followed by a dark winter. it does seem that often when that question is asked there is an assumption this might be going in the direction we don't like so let's turn it off. i don't think it would be so great if he were but he is not coming. we need a policy that deals with what is going on.
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>> we are not the only people riding a tiger. this still remains an important part of our international life. another subtext of this this we will get sucked into another involvement that somehow will deflect us from doing the other types of things. you are either writing the tiger or the tiger is eating you. >> what a horrible metaphor. i have to apologize.
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>> my question to the panel when asked about syria they said a president had been set. should there be a precedent to how we have 18 more to go and so on? thank you. >> don't look at me. you are the middle east expert. >> i think syria is still unfolding. we can all hope the people of syria also get the better future they deserve. as for what will unfold their i think the administration made the right decision when they come from libya.
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as i also said i am not ready to commit ground troops. that bounce my thinking. let's see what happens in syria. i would not rule out any intervention under any circumstances because the world has a bad habit of creating scenarios no one would see. i certainly think syria will be a much better place if political change comes to damascus. >> i would welcome the departure of the present. there was an article that finished with a quote that was excellent. some change in syria -- it would be great if it happened but the idea that we can promote ed or that we can take advantage of an opportunity is premature at
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best. we have not talked a lot about the arab league which was a decisive group for laying the ground for the libya intervention. we should at least listen. their intervention in the libya crisis was monumental. >> can i ask a question about the arab league? we have not talked about the military intervention. i am curious about. but also the unwillingness to speak quickly and oic spoke fairly quickly on libya. how much of that is dictated by the fact that gaddafi tried to
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have king of the look kill? try to have can abdullah killed? was this just the low hanging fruit that existed out there? >> whenever interest the arab league has pales in comparison s -- pales in comparison to other countries have. this is a strategic country with neighbors that have conflicting interests. we should be in the most intensive diplomacy with six of this country's, particularly iraq. as to precedence i don't want to comment on a quote i have not seen. if it is within our power at low
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risk to stop the massacre that is something we ought to consider. i don't see that as coming down the pike. we need to see how this evolves. i would agree with our panel that how this situation develops this unpredictable. >> let's have a disagreement after the panel about syria. >> something that no one has mentioned -- president obama basically convened an act of war against another country without a vote by congress has been unconstitutional. they were making a move to push forward impeachment. >> why would he meet this
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president out? >> that is the platform he runs on. >> let's try to address this. >> we did have one of you suggest that the congress has not been dealt with. how much of these are legal questions? none of us. i don't want to go too far here but if anybody wants to address this military action going forward without congress? >> i think we recognize the constitutional attention. i don't think the war powers act precludes the administration from doing what it has done. that is meant to distinguish between hall limited military
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action in the war where most in congress believes congress does need a vote. the administration might have considered a little bit more trying to ask for approval for a limited use of force. given what this president is trying to do in terms of reshaping the way the world views the use of force that there might have been a virtue in seeing we could get approval. that may be an unrealistic bar to said. >> i am afraid we have reached the end of our time. i apologize on everyone who i could not call on. let me thank our audience and panelists for a terrific event. [applause] [captioning performed by
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national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> up next a correspondent for the al jazeera never talks about the challenges from reporting from the middle east. we will get an update on libya from the u. n. that is followed by tonight's speech by president obama on libya. tomorrow government officials talk about the situation at japan's nuclear failing power
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plant. live coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. on c-span3, a senate hearing protecting the civil rights of muslim americans. witnesses include thomas purchased and the former archbishop of washington d.c. the subcommittee hearing also starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern. an al jazeera correspondent discusses his experiences on middle east events including the recent events in cairo. he is interviewed by -- this forum was hosted by the council on foreign relations. the interview took place before president obama's speech on libya. >> good afternoon.
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i think we are going to have a terrific conversation today. you have all been to council meetings before. please turn off your cell phones and your blackberries. this meeting is on the record today. keep that in mind. i will spend a little bit of time visiting with our guests. we will have a chance for questions halfway through. today is a timely moment for us to be visiting with our guest. he is the al jazeera english correspondent based in cairo. he had a fascinating couple of months. although he is based in cairo he was in tunisia during the revolution.
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he was there when the revolution in egypt began in the made his way back into egypt to cover that story. i am fortunate he has been a cnn, lake for al jazeera english based in atlanta and then went to our baghdad bureau in 2003 through 2006 during some of the toughest times of that war. >> where we are right now. what i would love to do is visit
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for a few minutes and talk about the last couple of months of your life. an interesting 2011 for you. >> the year has gotten off to a start very few people could have predicted. 2011 has been described so many different ways, whether the arab awakening 40 arab spring but it is safe to say what we are witnessing in the middle east is a change in the relationship between citizens and the states. it is an awakening of the arab streak. >> go back to the beginnings of the. spring. what brought you to tunisia? what were your thoughts? >> when the events happened in
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tunisia it started in a small village where a young vegetable seller set himself on fire out of the disgust he had been living. the quality of his life had degraded so much. it really ignited the protests that began in tunisia. i was in egypt and we were struggling with one of the biggest stories which was the sectarian tension following the church bombings on new year's eve which triggered weeks of riots. i got a call from our bosses on the day the protests reached the capital. everyone was anticipating their to be a monumental shift given one -- the way he was conceding every speech more and more and
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ultimately stepping down. me and a group of journalists all came into different -- we were not allowed in tunisia. we were all just throwing our dice and saying let's try to see what happens when we get to the airport. >> he flew to to the show without a passport >> whatsoever. a lot of the equipment would have been confiscated had we just arrived. the authorities had instinctively changed. even the streets intonation that changed. it became so easy every time we were interviewing people to see we were journalists and speak to us. it was a very different dynamic from 24 hours before.
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>> everything is changing in tunisia and you are covering the events. how much of your brain was occupied with the possibility this would expand well beyond tunisia? thinking about jordan and elsewhere? >> when i was standing in the village every single person i spoke to said this was just a beginning. i was very surprised people were saying this because they had a great sense of pride. everyone i was speaking to when they found out i was based in egypt would say egypt is next. i would be suspicious about it. it calls for protests had already begun shortly after i arrived in egypt. one of my friends message me
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saying are you going to go back to the protests? i said there will not be anything big. i will admit that as soon as jr. 25 happened i was on the first flight out in the morning. i hopped on a flight to turkey and cairo because i knew the 25th changed the rules of the game. we knew that was going to be a monumental show them. to their credit, we did have people on the ground. when my friends were saying what do you think will happen? shouldn't you be back in egypt? i was like tunisia fills a big story in the revolution. lo and behold i was wrong. >> where did you go? what did you see? >> egypt from the 25th until the
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28th protests were still on going but there were knightly skirmishes with the police. the calls for a day of rage after friday prayers had gathered momentum. we all anticipated that would be big. the most troubling thing was the announcement by the egyptian minister of the interior who vowed never again would protesters take control of tahrir square. the second you heard him say that the dynamic change. so the calls started to be on the 25th ever but it would march on to tahrir square. on the evening of the 27 they announce they were cutting off
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the internet. egypt was essentially taken off the information grid. that just sent shivers up everyone's spine. this was unprecedented what we were about to witness. we have begun our preparation anticipating this would be a very big day. i went to friday prayers and to see how he would be treated and received -- he had flown in the country earlier. >> give me a little bit of how you operated during the egyptian revolution. al jazeera has a full-time bureau in cairo but at some point it was closed. how did it closed and how did you do your work? >> al jazeera was shut down.
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we were subject to the official campaign and unofficial campaign. the official campaign -- they jammed our signal and confiscated our equipment and provoked our licenses. we had nothing to prove we were journalists. that was the official campaign the government unleashed. the unofficial campaign was the incitement that happened. you had senior officials coming out and blaming what was happening in egypt on satellite channels belonging to friendly countries and having people call and andy create this incitement against al jazeera which fills over. people come to our offices with sticks and knives thinking we
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have become legitimate targets. our offices were attacked. we had people outside. they showed up with posters and knives. i think that -- >> how did people know where you work? >> we left our office and everyone took refuge at this hotel next to the bureau. most of the media is concentrated in one block in cairo. it became very apparent where al jazeera was. the pro-mubarak protesters when they gathered at that day just came over to the hotel where a lot of the journalists were and demanded staff be brought out. >> how much time did your teams spend outside the hotel versus
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wandering around knowing other journalists were getting beaten or injured? were you inside or outside? >> i never ashley -- i stay very much street level. when they were anticipating this tension really made the decision to keep as many of us in safe areas. we put some of our equipment in tahrir square. that became one of our positions for the entire revolution. we were always out in the field. i don't think we ever recorded from the refuge of the hotel. we would use it as a place to actually stay. we never once did we stay or operate out of the hotel. >> was it frightening knowing
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that there were government thugs who would have liked nothing more than to a rescue because al jazeera was not at the top of the government's favorites list? how did you feel going in and out of the hotel? >> it was extremely frightening. i have been in a lot of difficult situations from iraq but this was slightly different. it seemed almost personal. you are almost a product of the environment in which you are in. here you are always looking over your shoulder knowing you are al jazeera and you could be in one pocket at one point where this people are not fans of al jazeera. i was extremely frightened, but i looked at it very much like ordinary egyptians which is these are the tactics of the
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regime ordinary egyptians have suffered from four decades. this is something ordinary egyptians had been accustomed to. we have seen it at political rallies and protests. we knew as accredited journalists, it would not be hard for any ministry official to give out our information to crow regime people and have them knocking on your door. >> these are part of the environment you are used to. >> it is all is an awkward position for the journalists to be the story. in egypt and other places, al jazeera became a part of the story. when the government was talking about the other satellite networks it was not much of a code.
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how does it affect the way you do your job when you are a part of the story? give me a little bit of your thoughts. >> this was by the government's design. it was the government that was putting aljazeera in the cross hairs. that was because of the quality of the journalism that was coming out. one of the things i was seeing these are the first revolution's we have witnessed in the information age. information a satellite television internet, shot the space and time by which this information when all the way to egypt. when people talk about these revelations that pat --
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revolutions, the ability to carry the message is powerful, and that is why governments are afraid. aljazeera it is no different to the fact that the egyptian government shut down the at and that. aljazeera was singled out. for me, it is unfortunate that i have to stay focused and our credit to stay focused on the credit -- on the story and not be sucked into the story. >> when the government shut down everything internet, cell phones how did you do your job? how did you get information out? >> we had -- we used a lot of small technology satellite equipment, in order to
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circumvent limitations of relying on local information infrastructure. that was one way we were able to get pictures out. one of the most important components was the internet because it had become such an important tool. here in the united states, we knew the internet was going to be important. one of the things i was doing going into the revolution, i gave access to my twitter account to a good friend of mine and i told her that constantly update whenever she sees on out jazeera english on twitter. it became a huge thing because i went from 3000 followers to 20,000 followers. >> it was not even you to m tweeing. >> it was important because people were not getting their
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information ecstasy it may lead -- exclusively from television. from our end, we relied heavily on the internet for a lot of your-generated content. a great portion of the footage we were getting was generated by viewers standing in tahrir square with their cell phones. >> let's talk about libya. i'm curious of your impressions and it is worth noting that the coverage of libya has not been easy for aljazeera. tell me what has happened to your staff. >> we have had one of our camera man killed, who had the -- whom i had the privilege of knowing. we have had some of our staff detained and currently in the
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authorities. we have others that have been shot at. it is safe to say that aljazeera has played -- has paid a heavy price for its coverage in libya, along with those of other media. it goes to show the degree of violence that is willing to be used by this regime to silence what is happening. >> is out jazeera -- is out jazeera free to report now? -- is aljazeera free to report now? >> depending on the security assessments, the revisit it. they operate freely in the sense that they are one part of the story. the team in tripoli was there by the invitation of the libyan
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government. they are allowed to seek only a certain part of the story. >> let's talk about the president's speech tonight obviously is a given moment. he has worked hard to point out or to suggest that the united states is not taking the lead in libya operation and is quickly handing over command to na to. this is a coalition. your thoughts about that, and it your viewers and aljazeera does not take a position on that libut you based on your sense of the region, if people in the arab world believe that. do they see this as a u.s.
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operation, a truly international -let- as much by the arab league as by france, as by cutter, like britain? >> i do not think anybody looks as it as an american operation. they look at it as a western operation. they do not look at it as a bad thing. there's a convergence of interests. surprisingly, a big part of the arab street is in favor of military intervention to protect the people. you will be surprised think even though there is this extreme caution on the part of the united states to not be perceived a certain way says one of the unique opportunities in the history of the military -- american military involvement in the middle east where the arab street is not looking at
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what is happening in libya as an attempt by the united states to oppose its own objectives on to that region. that is at this stage. there is a skepticism because america's large military footprint in the region. there is a skepticism, and no doubt what add more fuel to the fire is the fact that be a pause largest natural resource is ok. -- is oil. the fact that the united states is engaged in this operation is not the people are upset about. one of the biggest evidence about that is the first time four years that we've covered that 18 past days, i never once saw on american flag been burned in tahrir square. either a collegiate -- neither in tunisia or libya. the common knowledge that the u.s. government supported these
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regimes, financed them, they did not hold that resentment toward those regimes as they were crumbling, as they were fleeing in different areas. that is to the credit of the people making the distinction between the policies and united states as a country. >> you can trust that with some of the protests you have covered in the arab world. you are an american citizen. you work for out desert english. give me a sense of what you have seen before as opposed to now. >> there was a huge animosity toward the american government's policies, not particularly in iraq or elsewhere but the israeli-palestinian conflict. that resentment over the years has created a sense where ordinary arabs do not trust the intention of the united states government. they look at our foreign policy
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as an interest-driven foreign policy, and despite the fact that the in that state espouses these ideals, it does not resonate with ordinary arabs because the actions did not add up with the rhetoric. in this case, there is a convergence of interests which means ordinary arabs want the ousting of gaddafi because he has demonstrated the violence he is willing to use to achieve his aims. in the absence of any interference with other arab regimes, the only option was western military interventions. this is why the situation has arisen, whereby the west can intervene in libya and not be seen as part of an imperialists operation. the question is going to be, how big the military operation is,
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are we going to see booths on the ground, what are the attempts to shake the rise of the nubian government, and to what extent there is going to be an engagement with the emergence of a new libyan government? these are questions that still have to be answered. >> as -- using your expertise who do you think the president's audience is tonight? >> i will have to wait and see what he says, but i would think his immediate audience is the united states. there is concern, and from watching and reading a bit of the commentary in the american media, there is a great sense of concern, and i hear this question who are these libyan rebels who, who are they -- who are these libyan rebels?
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there is this tendency to over analyze the situation to the point where we are talking about libya as if this revolution was somehow not organic. let's not forget where these revolutions begin. they begin with ordinary arabs. the libyan revolution began as a peaceful protest. it turned violent when gaddarriffi turned violent on to the protesters. people driven by this kind of jihadi mentality. that is not what we are seeing in libya. yesterday i saw on a talk show, a question was posed -- we do not know whether these are grown to be good extremist or bad extremists.
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i was surprised that nobody said, how do we know they are extremists who? back to your question. president obama the first thing he should try to do is outlaid the concerns of ordinary americans about what is happening in libya. i hope he has more intelligence than what is being discussed in the mainstream american media because it is sometimes shortsighted. these people who are leaving these revolutions, particularly in libya, we may not have the answers. that is not a bad thing. we try to rush to find out who is the national council. these are people who used to be in the libyan government. we know what they stand for. they have given a timeline of the transition they would like to impose. they do not have the ability to push on to tripoli. there try to address issues with
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diplomatic maneuvers. obama needs to address that first concern within the american domestic arena, and he needs to build a message to the power -- to the arab street that the united states is not intervening in libya for imperialists objectives, but because of humanitarian and the lead-based judgment. -- and value-based judgments. >> i want to get questions from you all. we for the microphone that will find you. we will start over there, sir. >> thank you. if i could play on your broader experience in iraq and israel, and gas out, and now in tunisia
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and egypt, the landscape is changing significantly in the region. what we are seeing, the first time in my lifetime, you see the empowerment of arabs in the street, then the victims of repression of their governments for generations. the object of the indifference from foreign governments. if this empowerment continues what are the arabs in the street saying about what they expect from two key actors, the united states -- to they want, and the other is israel. how does this changed landscape -- what to be empowered arabs expect from these two actors? >> i cannot think they want anything from israel, so if there is an emergence of governments in the arab word that accurately reflect the will
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of the arab street and respond it, you will see a different level of engagement. the arab street once the government to interact with israel differently, but they want anything from israel. you're going to see in the case of egypt the interests of egypt take priority over the interest of israel. they want to see the sale of natural gas not be sold at a subsidized price. they want to see the party of the siege of cassette be lifted because there is a greater apathy with the people of gaza and palestinians, said it wants egypt's for policy to reflect that. the want to see egypt's national security take precedence over the national security of israel and the united states. most will tell you egypt's natural -- national security interest the backseat.
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when interest -- when israel wanted egypt or the united states to engage in efforts between hamas you will see a spike. the underground brewers built along the border with the outside, it was knowledge that it was at the behest of international pressure to do more to stop the smuggling despite the fact that egyptians wanted a seat on thousand to be lifted. those are some of that kind of quick examples of the top of my head. the united states -- they want something different. then what the united states not to engage the arab street and the arab government on a foreign policy that is more value base. what i mean by that is they want to see the and i did states engage each action civil society, bring the know how that america has to the region, but not impose a form or model of
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government on the egyptians. if the moslem brotherhood emergencs as a power they do not want the united states to act as a veto. the position that i think distances the arab street from the united states. it is no different from christian democrats in europe. they can be political parties that play with in the secular rules of the game. they do now to see this type of western physician saying if the moslem brotherhood wins a certain number of seats, we will not deal with that. that kind of tone is what egyptians want to see end. >> do you have a sense now as the process moves forward in
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egypt, that the moslem brotherhood has a significant amount of support? during the revolution, the muslim brotherhood tried to downplay the amount of support they might get. now that the political process is open -- >> i think the muslim brotherhood was completely surprised. nobody in egypt can say this is a moslem brotherhood revolution. never once was the flag raising over tahrir square. never was their motto chanted. the people there were not part of the muslim brotherhood. this was not a muslim brotherhood-led initiative. the moslem brotherhood is the part of a political fabric of egypt. that is the reality. >> a big part? >> give me a second.
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they said they are not want to field more than ticket -- more than 30% of the seats. in the upcoming elections, they will only compete with 30 percent of the seats. they will not have more than 30% of the egyptian parliament. what we can say the moslem brotherhood in egypt they know that their popularity was due to the fact that they were the only game in town besides the hosni mubarak regime. he was the power and the only legitimate opposition in town were the muslim brotherhood. nobody took the opposition party seriously. if you were not in support of the brotherhood, if he did not like what they stood for, you supported that because they were the ones willing to go to the street and oppose the pershing, and they paid dearly for that
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over the course of the years. my assessment is that the moslem brotherhood will not be the top party that is all or nothing. they will not control everything and they will not be in the fringes of some other parties. they will be very visible, but not necessarily dominant. >> another question? >> state your name and your affiliation. >> thank you as someone who is riveted the my computer watching you day after day, wondering how you were managing to continue to broadcast. can you talk about the secular parties particularly the young activists. will they be able to get their act together to participate in
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the parliamentary and presidential elections? we have seen some pushback. d you see somebody emerging, or should we wait to see an emerging personality? >> there have been five or six prominent people throwing their names into the ring. there is a prominent judge. there are people who are emerging. i am speaking more analytically, but i would say i do not think any one of these individuals has a great deal of traction, particularly with the revolutionary groups. one of the most unique things is that they are organic and they are leader-less. none of these groups -- no one can claim credit for the revolution in the sense that nobody came rolling in from the countryside on a tank. they did not have that.
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they were ordinary people. that is a good thing and a bad thing. it has prevented an opportunity of a new generation of leaders to emerge. this grouping of revolutionary groups which have now in the ballpark between 12 to 13 groups are not traditional political players. that excludes a certain party. none of these parties are part of these court revolutionary groups. many of them support that ideology but are not part of it. what we are witnessing is the emergence of a new egyptian generation. if the election captions, the key to whether or not these groups will be ready is whether they -- if the ndp is banned, you will give a great opportunity for these parties to emerge. people from me ndp with their
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knowledge, might find themselves involved in helping these groups. if ndp stays, it is a recipe for problematic election. the two strongest parties will be the ndp the freedom and justice parties. >> we expect the decision soon perhaps in the next week or so. the prosecutor general in egypt it will be his call. that is done with close consultation with the military. i suspect within the course of the next two weeks we can expect a decision. it has been one of the demands of the revolutionary groups. they are expected to announce a tolaw on the formation of political parties in egypt. >> do you have a gut feeling
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whether they will be banned >> the indications are it will be banned. the demand of the protesters are if you are chindwin about creating a new at besser, you have to ban them or avoid from participation. they may impose a ban on the political activities of this party for the time being. >> question from this side of the room. >> thank you. to expand the focus would you say at the moment there is more press freedom in egypt or turkey and are you optimistic or pessimistic about the development of press and government relations in turkey? i think what i have seen eight
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egypt has been promising. egypt has gone from 172 greecedegre es. they have not been willing to tackle the fundamental issues that are problematic in this transitional period, which has to do with the military, and the constitution. the media in egypt is at a huge advantage in that there are plenty of news outlets television print and for many years they were usurped by the regime. you now see a purging of these organizations. that is a huge advantage. the fact that egypt has a long history of opposition newspapers print and press and broadcast, more importantly
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they have plenty of news channels and entertainment channels. the key is getting them up and going and been by but and not being afraid. that is the advantage. turkey is a good model, in terms of its journalism, a huge amount of newspapers and channels, and it is a good model for the kind of engagement you can expect from media the political environment. the media is vibrant in turkey and opinionated. the lines are clearly drawn. that would be one criticism i have compared to what it is like in egypt. i think egypt should shy away from having every party has a newspaper, every political ideology has its own news channel and tried to break beyond those limitations. >> yes, ma'am. >> i am with the naval
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postgraduate school. this been a fabulous session. i am interested in the public expectations about how quickly things are supposed to happen. i keep saying to my friends, it was 13 years from the time which declared independence before we had a president and the constitution. how do you think this is on the cramped into a short period of time to meet the expectations of everybody wanting to get into this new phase? >> that is a good question. more recently, and people have talked to me at the making comparisons to chile as it went to a transition to a more democratic constitution. that took 15 years. you have to look at egypt's progression through different lenses. one, capacity-building
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institution-building freedoms, and you have to look at accountability just as, reforms. people tell you it is not as important right now to try to bring elements of the regime to justice. you spent all this time, and some say this is more politically motivated, and the general prosecutor in egypt is now suddenly this white crusader who is involved in bringing these former regime officials in. people are questioning whether these are going to be fair and legal process these to do justice. that is a legitimate concern. you want to make sure that the institutions you build and the process seized you build are capable of bringing about the general or forms. i think there is a concerned and trying to impose a each time line, and that is why you see the biggest divisions in egypt are between those who think the
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six-month timeframe of the military is realistic and those that say no if should be more than a year. some people say that constitutional amendments, the eight that were passed, that was a bit of a sham. it is not want to bring about institutional roreforms. the bamubarak -- he is trying to tell you that the constitutional failed. that is the biggest decision you are seeing in egypt. there is a great concern that you are rushing and put together a bit of a sham. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. you mentioned how the vehicle that it is for americans through to you out jazeera, but visitors
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to the website surged during the revolution. i wonder if these revolutions -- do you think perceptions of aljazeera has a change, and how has this up as a changed out jazeera? >> the fact that i was on the colbert report, out jazeera's perception has changed. he told me he was a big fan of it afterwards. as you mentioned this notion that americans are not interested in international news is false. the fact that aljazeera's web site has grown by 2500% during the revolution. at one times surpassing "the new york times" at its peak. when people want good news they know where they can get it.
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how has it changed out jazeera -- aljezeer? it has recommitted us to the bias when you report the most simple reporting is the most powerful reporting out on the street. you'd see aljazeera's commitment with these budget cuts, a lot of the major news organizations in the world that had become reputable institutions have shot back a lot and had consolidated the coverage in london and new york and engaged in a parachute journalism. aljazeera as 60 offices around the world. you always get the most authentic story, and that shows all the way from the bottom all the way to the top. i think that is why it is a
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truly historic moment both for the network and in terms of its exposure. where beyond the negative perceptions that when we launched that we suffered from the united states. the suffering -- it is no longer about who out jazeera it is -- aljazeera is, it is about what we do. >> yes, sir. >> georgetown university. i am looking at the various peoples and parties in the egyptian political scene. what is their stance on the libyan conflict and the western intervention? how is that affecting their strategies for getting to power?
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>> i think the egyptian people, particularly the revolutionary groups at a huge amount of empathy for the people of libya and for the opposition fighters of the pro-democracy fighters. there was a great deal of criticism against the egyptian transitional government for not being more supportive of the libyan the rebels. it has gone so far as some say in the egyptian government should help now in this new environment, and a quick way for them to re-emerge in a credible way by helping the rebels, by supporting them, by giving the material, whatever support they could offer them. some say they should be engaged ward diplomatically, that the egyptian government should take the lead in supporting diplomatic initiatives. what is problematic is that the egyptian government is in a crisis, in a transition, so it is not giving a sense of clarity in terms of what it is too. it is beginning to re-crier
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ties its national interests. it is expected that egypt is want to recognize the republic of south sudan. ordinary egyptians very much side with the opposition in libya and the people fighting against the gadaffi regime. >> hello. the way certain people in march is becoming a galvanizing force for further actions. abu became that for libya. i wonder if you think it will take that kind of spark in out
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jury and morocco to give more interest to the protests there, or will not happen in those countries? >> i think the genie is out of the bottle. i do not think any arab country is immune from what is happening. they're asking what am i going to do when it happens in my country? i do not think every country will follow a similar way. libya is a country where 40 years it has conducted centralized power. he has not allowed for the establishment of political parties. there are no unions, which is very different from egypt. they were usurped by the regime, but the forces at play and the tensions and the currants underground are very different.
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it is not to say -- and i am not a big fan of this -- we hear that that is a tribal society. the forces in libya -- it is not a tribal war. they're not going to work along tribal lines. that is a bit of a misnomer to suggest it is a tribal war and these tribes will be outlined -- allied. algeria has institutions under an emergency law similar to egypt. it is good to be interesting to see, but i do not think there is an arab country that is immune to the winds of change. >> we have talked about our rain -- bahrain and in each of those countries, the regimes are trying to quickly make reforms. the emergency law is going to be lifted in syria. the regimes are trying to do
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what they can to relieve the pressure stay in power. do you think that any -- country may be different -- but what is your response to what those regimes are doing? too little too late? >> they are too little too late. these regimes have had decades to implement reforms without it being instigated by popular uprisings. they chose not to. any attempt for them to offer these reforms are widely got to be seen as attempts to hold on to their power as opposed to bring about genuine reform. the question will be, what can i get a hold on to my seat by offering these concessions and by offering these reforms could i do not think the are resonating or have any attraction with the arab street. it is not to say it is not want to delay it coming to your country.
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it may buy you more time, but nonetheless, the demands for change now and when we talk about the events of change, one of the most important parts of that is the fear factor has been broken. ordinary arabs particularly in some of these countries where we see violence being used, they have overcome their theme -- their fear of these regimes. i do not have to tell people hear the kind of security services that existed in egypt. those services were completely quashed the matter of 72 hours. that has become contagious. people are seeing the fact that they did it in egypt, and they can do it and syria, they can do it in yemen marco algeria because these are african countries. it could even go beyond the arab-african countries and in the african countries themselves. >> i am with cbs radio news.
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my bosses wanted to thank you for your good work and aljazeera was a very cooperative. you were hurt in united states that way. comcast in dc test out jazeera in english. he did a great job. people may be more curious about you. were you born in united states? did you go to college in washington? and you are 6 ft. 8? >> i am all the a bun. i was born in egypt. my parents emigrated when i was 5 years old. i went to american university. i started working for nbc news across the street from american university. i started off as a desk assistant, an entry-level position. i was answering phone calls.
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a great environment. it was a great environment watching and learning how people operate in that kind of high- pressure office. i was going to leave journalism because it with the summer -- it was the summer of gary condit and chandra levy. i stayed through by chance until 9/11 happened and then the rules of the game changed. there was talk about the war in iraq the following year, so the american networks started to beef up their staffing with the people who spoke the language of the region. that is what led me to cnn. >> use get one of dan's questions? >> -- you skit one of dan's questions -- you skipped one of
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dan's questions. >> >> there have been preliminary signs but anything more serious? >> the word is not the best word to describe. demands for change. what did that leads to unrest or that happens peacefully, yes i do think that demands for change and reforms will happen in saudia arabia. even the king has recognized he has offered this huge incentive deal, $80 billion, which makes you wonder where the money was the past few years, but nonetheless, you are going to see those demands. the reason i was saying every country was different and every country will take longer because the forces lead to this these
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demands and these acts of civil disobedience are different. what we see in bahrain it is not a sectarian the man. yet the majority of the people who are suppressed are shia. what we see in yemen is different. what we are going to see in saudi arabia is different. i'm convinced that no arab country, including jordan, iraq, sudan, all these countries are trying to demand a new equation between the citizen and the state. >> i want to thank you for your time. you have seen a career's worth of news in two months. i can only imagine what the next six months will be like. thank you for coming today. >> thank you very much.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] ahead >> we will continue our conversation on libya on tomorrow's "washington journal." we will talk with congresswoman karen bass.
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and president obama informed congress of his decision t use troops in libya. we will discuss the war powers resolution enacted by congress in 1973. "washington journal," each morning at seven cost -- at 7:00 eastern. >> find the latest from the u. n. security council and world leaders on the c-span video library, all searchable on your computer. watch what you want when you want. >> the u.n. security council met earlier to hear about how sanctions are working in libya. afterwards, the head of the sanctions committee spoke with reporters about how bans may affect the rebel movement in libya.
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>> ok, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. as you know i just briefed the council on the first of two meetings we had on the sanctions committee of the sanctions committee on libya/ they were extremely useful and productive meeting spirit we agreed on the provisional method for our work rules. we also adopted -- to be sent to member states of the you and to request them to inform the committee on the way they are
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implementing the sanctions. and thirdly we also discussed a number of issues that have to do both with exemptions to the sanctions regime or the clarification its application. i trust that we will proceed as it happened during the two meetings with a strong sense, a unified support from all members of the council as it was a unified approval of the 1970 resolution. i was very happy to verify during our consultations in the council, which we just had how solid this support for the sanctions committee and its work is. thank you all very much, and i
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am ready to answer any questions. >> the rebels have said they would like to begin exporting ok to qatar. they have said they will help them market their oil. is there anything that would prevent the libyan rebels from doing this, from selling their oil? >> the sanctions regime applies to the oil company we're talking. as far as that oil company is concerned, this sanctions to apply. >> if they were not to sell to the libyan national oil corp. -- >> i do not work on the basis of
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presumptions. my work is to apply the sanctions as they exist today. i am sure if the situation like the one you have presented our rise, we will discuss them in the committee, of course. my job now is to apply the sanctions as they are, and as far as oil is concerned, it is very clear the national oil company is sanctioned under this regime. [unintelligible] my understanding is the resolution imposes a full embargo on arms. >> to defend themselves? >> that is what is stated in the resolution. >> to allow them to defend themselves.
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>> the resolution is very clear. there is an embargo on arms, and committee will enforce that embargo. [unintelligible] i do not the work on the basis of arguments. if they arise we would discuss that. my understanding is the sanctions regime applies itself to arms and armaments. i do not know. a number of countries will be adding or have mentioned they will be adding names and institutions of listings. we will see this in the coming weeks. very quickly we will have the names and move will discuss the merits of including them or not including them in the lists. [unintelligible] i do not have any evaluation of the sense.
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a lot of assets had been seized already. i do not know the numbers precisely. you have a more clear view of that when we have a panel of experts and when we had experts that can dwell on that specifically and go in to the figures that you are mentioning. i do know and i do hope that all member countries of the u. nn. are applying the sanctions and applying the sanctions. [unintelligible] they include assets. assets can be both properties and bank accounts. >> wendy you expect a panel of the experts -- >> as i just said to the council, i feel it is an urgent
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matter. i recognize it is not easy to put a panel in 48 hours together. then we have a secretariat whilst doing that, resolution requires a fair amount of different expertise. so you have to have that expertise and as is traditional you must tap regional balance and equilibrium there. it is a tough job, but i hope it will be done quickly because i feel the need for it, in order to enter the questions that have been addressed to me. [unintelligible] no one raise that issue in consultations today. >> it is very clear arming the rebels is out of the question? >> read the resolution -- i know
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you have read the resolution. the embargo is a full one. i am not going to discuss what people are arguing because -- [unintelligible] i hear a lot of things and riga lot of things, but it does not mention for me with all due respect, would be a waste of time to go into all the different arguments. i am here with my committee to enforce the different apartments and enforce the resolution. that is what i am gone to do. i am not going to comment on what individual countries and authorities -- >> that is what i am going to say. >> i hope i am supported by that in the committee. one last question. thank you.
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>> up next president obama's speech on libya from tonight. then a panel discussion on the conflict in libya. later, a correspondent for the aljazeera english network talks about middle east reporting. tomorrow, government officials and watchdog groups about the situation at japan's failing nuclear power plant. live coverage from the senate energy committee begins at 10:00 eastern on c-span. on c-span3, a senate hearing on
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protecting the civil rights of muslim-americans. that subcommittee hearing also starts at 10:00 eastern. now president obama lays out his goals for libya. nato has agreed to take over military operations in libya this week. the president spoke to military officers at the national defense university in washington. this is 30 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. >> tonight, i would like to update the american people on the international effort that we have lead in libya. what we have done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.
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i want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform, who once again have acted with courage professionalism, and patriotism. they have moved with incredible speed and strength. because of them, and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved. meanwhile, as we speak our troops are supporting our allies in japan, leaving iraq to its people, stopping the taliban's momentum in afghanistan, and going after al qaeda all across the globe. as commander in chief, i am grateful for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines coastguardsmen, and to their families, and i know all americans share in that sentiment. for generations, the united
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states of america has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate of human freedom. mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world's many challenges. but when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. that is what has happened in libya over the course of these last six weeks. libya sits directly between tunisia and egypt, two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destinies. for more than four decades the libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant, muammar gaddafi. he has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized
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innocent people around the world, including americans who were killed by libyan agents. last month, gaddafi's grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. in cities and towns across the country, libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. as one libyan said, for the first time, we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over. faced with this opposition, gaddafi began attacking his people. as president, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all americans who sought our assistance. we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer his aggression. we froze more than $33 billion
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of gaddafi's regime assets. joining with other nations of the united nations security council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled gaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. i made it clear that gaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead. i said that he needed to step down from power. in the face of the world condemnation, gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks launching a military campaign against the libyan people. innocent people were targeted for killing. hospitals and ambulances were attacked. journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. supplies of food and fuel were choked off. water for hundreds of thousands of people in misrata was shut off.
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cities and towns were shelled mosques were destroyed and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. military jets, helicopters and gunships were launched on people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air. confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, i ordered warships into the mediterranean. european allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. the libyan opposition and the arab league appealed to the world to save lives in libya. so at my direction, america led an effort with our allies at the united nations security council, to pass an historic resolution that authorized the no-fly zone to stop the regime's attacks from the air and


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